gl1100 interstate steering is heavy

Information and questions on GL1100 Goldwings (1980-1983)
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Posts: 81
Joined: Tue May 10, 2016 11:04 am
Location: Halifax, NS Canada
Motorcycle: 81 GL1100

gl1100 interstate steering is heavy

Post by tylers883 » Thu Jul 21, 2016 4:32 pm

When I turn my steering to the far right or far left, my bike drops down. Hence, in order to straighten the steering, it requires quite a bit of muscle power because I have to lift the weight of the bike.

Rather than criticize this like I feel like doing, do you mind if I ask what the purpose is for this? What advantage does the bike have from this?

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bruce swaybill
Posts: 75
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Location: farmington, ct
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1983 gl1100i interstate
2009 triumph bonneville t100

Re: gl1100 interstate steering is heavy

Post by bruce swaybill » Sat Jul 23, 2016 11:21 pm

Can you tell us what speed range you are describing? Below 10mph? 10-20mph? Above 20? Above 40? These bikes are very stable above 40, moderately so 20-40 and can feel wobbly below 20 if you don't pay attention.
At low speeds, the bike's weight try's to turn the wheel more than the tire's contact patch distance behind the sterering axis (the trail dimension) try's to straighten it. So your steering input needs to try to straighten it so it doesnt flop too far. At higher speeds, the tire's trail over powers all the other forces acting on the steering and resists any displacement from straight. So, to initiate and hold a turn you need to apply input force in the opposite direction of the turn (countersteering). It may even feel excessive.
This is all based on the geometry of the bike, the weights of the steering and non-steering frames and the properties of the tires.
Every bike is a compromise of handeling performances at different speeds. These Gold Wings are optimized for stability and comfort at highway speeds. They are pretty good at city speeds and can be difficult at extremely slow speeds, like in parking lots. Some bikes are optimized the other way. Some bikes don't seem optimized at all, while many seem pretty good at all speeds.

I hope this helps.
Bruce S.
Have a nice day! :)

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